-Fuck this ridge in particular! - Bazilik Tapier Brüm, Salaian Mountain Guard.
As the battle rages on the valley, the lonely peaks that surround it are not peaceful anymore. Countless skirmishes sprout across mountain passes, peaks, crests and foothills.
Salaian Mountain Guard, a tale of chronic mismanagement
The mountain guard is the organism that watches over the mountainous regions that form the western border of the salaian mainland.
Even though they are part of the military their functions are way more diverse, as they act both as a military and a public service force.
Their military functions include: Watching over the western border, informing about and fencing off enemy incursions, as well as stopping smugglers, spies and bandits.
As a public service, they act as the police and emergency unit in these regions. They are also tasked with maintaining the infrastructure of this remote and poor region and keeping a large number of small forts and “safe houses”, which work both as barracks and as hostels for travellers.
Despite covering a large territory and being the first line of defence against a hostile dictatorship, they have been underfunded since their very beginning.
Their finances are so poor that they don’t have proper uniforms and equipment. Instead, they are equipped with army and navy surplus and antiquities. Their weapons are a mismatch of old guns, with never enough ammo, sometimes so oxidized they are dangerous to use. At some point, the situation got so bad that guards preferred bringing their own hunting rifles rather than using the ones they were supplied with.
The main cause of this chaos was that the high ranking officers where aristocrats from lowland regions, who despised their subordinates for their different dialect and culture, and hardly ever visited the places they were meant to control, even though being in charge of their administration and finances. In fact, they preferred to divert the guard funds to their own projects, thus depleting them of all but the most basic equipment.
The effects of this corruption sipped to the lower ranks, which had to rely on themselves. Instead of patrolling and training, many dedicated their time to growing food and making different crafts. After all, they needed the food and money and there was no ammo to expend.
Forts looked more like communes than actual fortifications, and smugglers could cross as long as they shared some of their products.
The Mountain Guard was the shame of the armed forces, but it was easier to ignore rather than to fix it.
Things started to change when the threat from the west became more and more evident. Mitzish rearmament was real, and their objective was clear.
Major reforms in the armed forces began, and the mountain guard was no exception. When inspectors came to investigate the state of the troops, they got horrified.
Funding was increased several times and an extensive training program began, including often training together with the army, and the guard was put under the supervision of (mostly) competent officers.
They were trained and equipped with more modern rifles, some machineguns, radios and even light artillery.
When the invasion began, they where no longer a disorganized group of people but a fighting force capable of engaging the enemy in ambush, surprise attacks and guerrilla warfare, often crossing seemingly impassable terrain, despite their terrible equipment and supply problems.
Salaian Mountain Guard, summary:
We may not have the best equipment, nor be the most disciplined; but at least we have the high ground. Because, who else do you expect to put a freaking cannon on the top of a mountain?
In an abandoned mining village in the middle of the desert there lies a lonely windmill. This windmill pumped water from a deep reservoir, in order to feed the small population and drain the galleries.
When extraction became unprofitable the town had no reason to be, and so it was abandoned.
But the wind kept blowing and the mill kept pumping, and the overflowing water allowed life to flourish, creating a garden in the middle of nowhere.
Years pass, and damage accumulates. Life grows and multiplies, but the sole thing that allows its existence won’t get any younger.
One day, the windmill will stop forever, and the life that grew with it will die with it.
Hello darling, how are you?
I have been thinking about you every day and night since your last letter. I’m so glad you are finally interested about my job!
It has been hard and dangerous, but I have finally got what you asked me for! An aerial photograph of the base! And it’s even colourized! Now you will know exactly what I’m talking about when I tell you my daily chores. Just one tiny but extremely important detail about this: Don’t show or tell anyone about the photo: It’s extremely illegal. They could trial me for espionage and treason for this. Don’t ask me how I got them; I don’t want to think about it. Just take this as another proof of my love for you.
Only 63 days left until we can see each other again.
Karliz Zeff Benicàssim
Barrin Fortress – Battle of Arcosa Valley
Barrin Fortress was a military base located in the northeastern margin of Arcosa Valley, over the rocky crag limiting its eastern side.
Its objective was to become a logistic hub in case of an invasion through the mountains, as well as becoming a last bastion of defense before the mainland plains.
It was also used for the advanced training of soldiers in “mountain and defensive warfare”. This allowed the base to always have a large pool of trained soldiers available at any time. The image desn’t encompass the whole base. There are more facilities outside the image, on the left; namely barracks and stables, as well as underground tunnels and storage and an outer line of defense surrounding the whole area.
-Flying Squirrel reporting from hill 105. Enemy column in fighting distance. Target in line of fire. Positions not compromised but increasingly precarious. What is your command?
-High command here. Proceed as planned.
Driver! Pre-engage reverse, be ready to drive away.
Gunner! Target at 9 o’clock, 600 meters, gun truck.
-Fire at will.
BANG! ...Miss! Too high and on the right!
BANG! ...Miss! Still on the right!
BANG! ...Hit! One more...Shit! They are aiming at us! Retreat! RETREAT!
LLAU IV was a cruiser tank developed by the salaian army before the Great Southern War.
It had a good speed and manoeuvrability, but a rather thin armour.
Its armament consisted of a 40mm high velocity autocannon and a coaxial and a rear machine gun.
It had a crew of three: a commander, a gunner and a driver.
It was excellent for scouting and fast operations, and well liked by their crews, who praised its mobility and accuracy.
During the conflict, its chassis was also used as a platform for tank destroyers, self propelled guns and auxiliary vehicles.
Still though, it proved unsuited to desert climate, and specially vulnerable do dust. In the advanced stages of the conflict, the desperate situation the salaian army endured meant that they had to be used in roles unsuited for them, or that they couldn’t be used at all, due to poor maintenance and fuel shortages.
The Great War devastated the Southern Continent. The Salaian Expeditionary force was sent in order to assist their allies in this conflict.
Salai had fallen into a military dictatorship during the Salaian-Mitzish War, and was in a deep social and economic crisis ever since. Their participation in the conflict was seen as an opportunity to reassert its international position and inspire national feelings on their population, thus solving the grave problems that undermined the regime.
Time showed that what was thought to be their salvation would prove to be their demise.
Drawn with a 0.5mm mechanical pencil in a Din A3 and painted with Photoshop.